Be Your Own Fact Checker and Help Stop the Spread of Misinformation
Have you been doing your part to stop the spread of misinformation? It’s very easy for information to be interpreted incorrectly, or for information to be completely or partly wrong. It is just like a game of telephone, when the original message goes through a few people and by the time it gets back to you the story has completely changed. The important thing is to know how to spot potentially false information, and take the proper steps to investigate its validity, before sharing it.
In an internet age where information is readily available and comes out at a faster pace than ever, false and incorrect information is also getting out and spreading at a staggering rate. Social Media has amplified this problem tenfold, as well. Reading a bold headline and scrolling through a couple comments about an article - which feature the opinions of people who may or may not have actually read the article themselves - has taken a precedence over learning and knowing real facts. It’s the “I’m just here for the comments” culture. We’ve become addicted to this type of information intake, while researching and understanding as little as we can for ourselves. This simply gives us a false impression of being informed.
The disregard to obtain fundamental facts is the recipe for information to get twisted, and is exactly how “fake news” starts to incubate. Our ability to question what we read or hear needs to improve and hold strong in order to stop this from happening. Not only do we need to understand information we receive, we need to understand where it comes from. When you are reading something ask yourself some questions such as, how did the author get this information? What are the sources? Are they credible? All of these questions and more should come to mind, even when we get told something by someone who may typically share good information.
TIPS TO IDENTIFY & STOP THE SPREAD OF FALSE INFORMATION:
Don’t take our word for it! Here are some places you can go that are not the government to find out if what you are reading is really true.
Fact Check: https://www.factcheck.org/
First Draft: https://firstdraftnews.org/tracking/
To help determine the bias and overall accuracy of online news sources:
Media Bias / Fact Check: https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/
Sources on COVID-19:
Johns Hopkins Medicine: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/coronavirus/health-articles.html
SUNY Upstate: https://www.upstate.edu/coronavirus/
For more information about fact checking and misinformation:
Simon Fraser University: https://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/research-assistance/fake-news